Tents come in all shapes and sizes. How do you know you are buying the right one for you? How do you know you are buying something of good quality? The best tent features to look for are often discovered after a few trials and errors from your own adventures. Mishaps; mistakes, whatever way you want to call them. Could have all been avoided; had there been easy to find information. I myself found it very frustrating many years ago when I had just began my camping adventures. I had to go through a lot of equipment, trial and error before I had my camping set up perfectly for my needs.
To help prevent such frustration and to guide you all towards smarter, easier purchases, I have devised a small list of what I believe to be the most desirable best tent features. In future posts I will break it all down and offer a complete comprehensive analysis of each variable listed below. But for now I have provided a quick list of things for you to consider and keep an eye out for when buying a new tent.
Quick Select Points
When it comes to tents, durability refers to the ability and reliability the tent has to withstand damage and wear. Manufactures place a lot of thought into this area of their Product’s designs, (well some more than others). As the buyer, you obviously want a tent with high durability. The trick is to look for the following.
Sturdy tent poles ( which we will cover later) and secure grommets.
Grommets are flexible loops which support and fasten the surrounding fabric. They can be best described as an eyelet which protects an opening so that rope or tent pegs etc. may pass through it safely without damaging the tents materials. What you want to look for is secure or reinforced grommets. The best way to identify such types of grommets is to look for grommets that are either on a separate tether from the tent material or are surrounded by some form of reinforcement material such as rubber or aluminum. Grommets by themselves, while serving their purpose of protecting an opening to allow ropes to safely pass through have an increased risk of tearing the material around the grommet, especially if the tent is cheap and made of weak material.
Tent material and fabric is very important, especially when considering your personal climate. Tent material is typically made of the following; Canvas, Polyester, Nylon and Poly-Cotton. Each of these materials have different strengths and weaknesses. For a more in depth comparison of tent materials please visit https://tentsforcouples.com/ten….
Frame-Poles & Setup
Tent frames, poles and setup time are correlated. One can drastically affect the others performance, that is why it’s so important to get these three variables right. Look for;
As the variety of tents, their shapes sizes and materials continue to change and expand in variety, this results in a variety of weight loads which require support to hold up the structure. To support this weight a tent needs a frame that is strong and flexible. The frame, depending on the make of tent, is typically made up of multiple runs of tent poles.
Some cheap alternatives can easily snap.
Stay clear of plastic
A simple rule is to choose a tent frame that can bend without ripping or breaking. You might want to make sure no one is watching, if you’re in a store, or you could consider The following.
Good tent frames are usually made of aluminum due to being lightweight but also reliable. Other tent poles can be made of galvanized steel, plastic or fiberglass.
It is important that your tent poles are light and easy to use as this can drastically affect set up times.
A good set of tent poles will be linked together with an elastic shock cord making set up and pack up time a breeze, especially if you are moving about and setting up different camp sites daily.
Rainfly & Guylines
A Rainfly, also know as a tent body is a floor less waterproof outer layer which is separate to the main tent body, typically made of two layers one designed for water proofing the other for insect protection. Not all tents come with a rainfly and, single wall tents are genuinely considered rainflies with floors. The best kinds of rainflies extend over the entire tent and attach to the ground providing your tent with added UV protection and added stability. The stability is increased thanks to something called guylines.
Guylines are simply ropes which can attach through your rainfly to the tents poles adding stability. Guylines can also be an exterior rope attached to the rainfly or ten tthat then extends to a tent peg firmly positioned in the ground. This too adds stability. Ultimately you want to look for both kinds but having at least one type is a must.
Vestibules are defined as entry halls or chambers connecting an outer door to a
building. For camping, tent vestibules refer to a covered walkway, porch or entrance to your tent. These are a highly desirable tent feature as they offer an opportunity for both cover and leisure whilst not requiring to be locked away inside your tent. Well-designed tents integrate the vestibule into the rainfly.
Ventilation & Insect Protection
Ventilation is very important for a tent yet can be hard to achieve in the design. Ultimately you want enough ventilation to maintain good insulation but also to avoid internal moisture building up. The best kind of tent ventilation designs will have two doors and plenty of windows, so you can attempt to set up your tent into a natural breeze. The best tent designs also have roof vents or hoods not only on the tent but also designed into the rainfly. This will allow hot air to rise and escape. A must have at the very least is fly mesh doors and windows, These can offer a lot of ventilation but is just a bonus for their intended design.
Insect protection for tents is a must and it often comes in the form of fly mesh. Also, called No-See-um screening. The mesh consists of a light fabric made of multiple tiny holes. Which allows not only ventilation but prevention from tiny insects entering your tent, especially at night. The best designs integrate the fly mesh into all doors and windows separately so you can either seal up the tent completely of have a door or window open with fly mesh engaged to optimism protection ventilation and comfort levels.
Most tents come with some form of water preventative coating, however, because tents are made of various materials, the methods used to waterproof them differ. Not only is the material and applied coating different but the level of protection can vary in terms of hydrostatic head, often displayed as a series of numbers following a brand name eg HydroMax 1500. For more information on waterproofing please visit the below posts
As you can imagine having loads of room in your tent will lead to increased comfort and an overall improved camping experience. As a general rule, buy a tent at least two sizes above the number of people staying in it. Being able to stand in your tent is a bonus but worth the sacrifice in consideration to the previously mentioned points. I cover tent space and why it’s so important further at
https://tentsforcouples.com/qua… Quality Tents – What to look for!
OK so I shouldn’t need to explain to most of you what a warranty is, but in terms of tents it is a must have featured. Essentially a warranty is a guarantee. A guarantee for repair and replacement perhaps. Warranties can of course differ. If you are buying a quality tent it should come with a lifetime warranty – end of story. Too often have I gone into camping stores and tents only come with a limited warranty or the salesman tries to sell you an extended warranty on top on the limited one. My advice if you’re looking for a tent that will last you a lifetime ( assuming you take good care of it) it should be backed confidently by those who made it via a lifetime guarantee. If you’re okay with the tent only lasting a few months or so then of course go for the limited warranty. Ultimately you are in charge of the decision here.
To sum things up quickly. If you want to buy a tent with the best features look for the following as a checklist
- It must be durable with reinforced grommets and reinforced zipper lines.
- It must be made of a quality material of either high denier or thread count.
- It must be strong flexible and efficient in terms of frame poles and set up/pack up time.
- Having an added rainfly and guylines are a must.
- An extra walkway or vestibule before the entrance for added leisure.
- It must be well ventilated and offer insect protection, vents, doors windows and hoods, all integrated into the rainfly and main body of the tent.
- It must have a high hydrostatic head water resistant level.
- It must be spacious enough to contain yourselves and belongings you wish to protect, twice the recommended size.
- Finally, it must come with a lifetime warranty.
Hopefully with the information I have provided here I can help guide you all towards well-informed purchases. You don’t want to be on the back foot when approaching a salesman. Known what you want and what to look for using this handy list and I’m confident you will have purchased a quality tent that will bring you many happy memories and will last a lifetime or at least justify its price.
A terrible tent can equal a ruined camping trip.
Make some beautiful memories and safe camping everyone.